At Holland Park Education, our goal is to make sure we do what is best for the student. Although we champion a British education, increasingly, students at schools across the UK are starting to look at international university options. We work closely with our International Consultant David Hawkins to offer the opportunity for students to explore higher education further afield, as the world becomes more global.
The US continues to be the big draw, helped by media ubiquity, the availability of sports scholarships and the high rankings held by some of the most well-known universities. However, more and more schools are finding that their students are interested in applications to universities in many other countries, realising that their ‘best fit’ university might not necessarily be in the UK.
The Dutch universities have worked very hard to raise awareness of the English-taught pathways there, with research universities, universities of applied sciences and university colleges all offering distinct methods of education that are not as readily available in the UK. Following this, other regional groupings are starting to promote their country’s offerings, with a plethora of excellent options now available in Italy, Belgium and Central Europe.
At the same time, a group of European private universities, the European Universities Consortium, has been busy promoting themselves. Led by IE University – one of the world’s top-ranked business schools – with their team of staff based in London, they have educated students across the UK about the ability to get a different style of degree in Europe.
This has increased in the last few years as the entire EUC – Bocconi from Italy, Trinity College Dublin, Modul from Austria, Jacobs and the Carl Benz School from Germany, Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne from Switzerland and Vesalius from Belgium – have joined David on school visits across the UK.
Canadian universities have also been busy with their recruitment events, with the annual EduCanada fair and tour educating students about fantastic opportunities across that vast country. The University of British Columbia has had a member of their recruitment team based in the UK for many years, driving considerable interest in Canadian applications.
This is all hugely positive: the more students are aware of the opportunities open to them, the better. Understanding that UK degrees are not the only way that a degree can be structured can help students to make better decisions, and to understand all the various ways in which they can obtain their undergraduate education.
In this way, a student who wants to combine the study of Maths with Sociology and Photography, such as one I worked with last year, can choose to pursue her degree at the School of International Liberal Studies at Waseda University in Tokyo. In contrast, a student who wishes to combine interests in Fine Art and Computer Science chose to attend the joint programme between Brown and the Rhode Island School of Design. The options are boundless, for students prepared to look beyond the UK model.
As an educational consultant working with students, schools and universities, there is clearly significant growth in this area: 5% of all independent school leavers last year chose a non-UK university for their future studies. Brexit has made many students realise that if they want a global future, they have to go and get it themselves. It is a great pleasure to help students and families with their international university applications and to mentor teachers as they build international university programmes at their schools. It can only be a good thing that students consider all the varied options available to them once they leave school, and international universities should be part of this.